Friday, April 12, 2019

"Can't We All Get Along?"

"Therefore, as the elect of God
...put on tender mercies, kind-
ness, humility, meekness, long-
suffering (Colossians 3:12)
I woke up the other morning to some discouraging news! 
Indianapolis had experienced seven murders over a single weekend!  If that wasn't bad enough, I learned later in the day  that Chicago, where many of my relatives live had 24 murders in as many hours!

Violence of every kind, I'm sad to say, is common in America.  It doesn't matter where you live whether in the heart of the inner city or the elite suburbs!  I'm sick of it and like activist Rodney King said in 1991, I wonder: "Can't we all  just get along?"

I'm no psychologist or sociologist with answers to this overwhelming problem but I can offer some guidelines for maintaining good relations on a smaller scale.  These are geared toward brothers and sisters in Christ but will work with anyone with whom you are at odds!   They sort of jumped off the pages of a recent Sunday school lesson focusing on the "One Another" scriptures in the bible. So I'd like to share them with you here.

There are approximately 59 of these scriptures but even if you're not a Christian they bring practical wisdom and insight for living in harmony with just about anyone! However, if you are a follower of Christ, know this...dealing with difficult people is our spiritual assignment from God!  So you just might want to review a few of these.
  • Mark 9:50 - Be at peace with one another!  Don't automatically write certain people off.  Pursue a peaceful relationship with everyone. Christ said that we are salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13, 16).  We make this sin-darkened world just a bit more tolerable by just being in it.  How about taking this salt out of the salt shaker and doing a bit more sprinkling!  
  • Ephesians 4:2 - Be patient with one another!  We like things fast and convenient. But good relationships take time to cultivate.  I can't tell you how many times I almost sabotaged a good relationship because I didn't want to stop long enough to explain a task; listen to an alternate plan of action; or just simply wanted to do things quickly my way!  Humility goes a long way in producing quality work and keeping good relations. 
  • Romans 15:7 - Accept one one another as Christ accepted you!  We're different for a reason.  Ever wonder why there's so  many species of fish, variations of flowers and birds?  God specializes in using things that are unique to bring glory to Himself! We have been duped into thinking that homogeneity (being alike) is better, safer, and in some cases superior to the mainstream. From the beginning God has shown us that this is not so! (Genesis 1:20-31)  Although birds are all birds, plants are all plants, fish are all fish. Within each there are an array of spectacular colors and sizes.  I'd hate to think what life would be if we were all the same. God finds beauty and value in His creation and so should we!
  • Galatians 5:13 - Serve one another in love!  The Golden Rule still applies today.  If you wonder who is doing all the destructive, violent, and ungodly deeds in our world, look to those who have learned to be self-serving!  They are greedy, pleasure seekers, heartless, and evil in all their ways!  Yet God has commanded us to love them!  Sounds insane doesn't it? But this is just what He did for us~Romans 5:8.  This love is not the warm and fuzzy kind, but simply treating others the way you want to be treated (Luke 10:25-28).  Treat others with respect, simple kindness, and with human decency. And by the way if you can meet a need do so!
Other principles that the One Another scriptures teach are:

1. Handle disappointments from a spiritual perspective (Gal. 6:2; Ephes. 5:26; Heb. 10:24)
2. Show in your lifestyle the Fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians. 4:32: Coloss. 3:12-13; Ephes. 4:2)
3. Stay dressed for Spiritual battle and don't forget to pray for one another  (James 5:16; Rom. 12:18)

In other words:  Put yourself under God's authority, obeying His instructions, and all His commands.


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